A victim will seek to reconnect with their abuser to relieve their pain in the moment, just like an alcoholic will crave their alcohol and break sobriety. This is one of the toughest things for victims and their supporters to understand when trying to break free from a toxic relationship. They may feel a sense of relief one day and have severe anxiety the next. They will feel a strong pull to reach out to their abuser to release the anxiety they feel for that high to return. It is no different from a drug addict going through the withdrawal process and why difficult for victims and supporters to understand. Accepting this is an addiction for the victims and their support system can help with the recovery process. Recognizing this is not love but an addiction to a chaotic lifestyle that is toxic is a step toward the healing process. This will take time. Understanding this and not reaching out to the abuser will help the body to regulate itself. Victims can then begin to heal and move toward a healthier mindset.
A victim can feel shame, guilt, and low self-esteem when repeating the push-pull pattern with their abuser. They understand it isn’t healthy logically but the pull is so strong to go back that they feel a sense of powerlessness. The victim will begin to lose a sense of self and can become enmeshed with their abuser as their boundaries have been ignored or not kept in place. This causes the victim to lose confidence in themselves and lose trust in their own judgement. Victims are likely to blame themselves for all the problems as they have been gaslit along with other manipulative tactics.
Whether the abuser has discarded their victim or the victim is trying to leave a toxic relationship, you (the victim) must go and stay NO CONTACT. Going NO CONTACT is a step needed to heal from the trauma bond. Many people don’t understand what NO CONTACT actually means. It isn’t easy but necessary as emotional thinking can convince you to go back.
Am I getting into a relationship because I want it or because I need it?
This might seem like a trivial distinction — want vs need — but it makes all the difference in the world.
- If your motivation for getting into a relationship is to fill in some emotional need in yourself, it’s going to bias what you see in your partner. Specifically, it’s going to magnify qualities that will help you fill in your own need and blind you to other qualities that might not be such a good fit for you.
- For example, if you struggle with low self-confidence, being around someone who’s extremely decisive and confident might alleviate some of your insecurity temporarily. But being around someone confident won’t actually make you a more confident person.
- Unfortunately, it may take you a while to realize this — that no one else can fix you. So you might find yourself married with a few kids before it dawns on you that the primary reason you married someone was actually not a very good reason.
- To make matters worse, because you’re so enamored by their confidence, you might miss the fact that, for example, they’re incredibly narcissistic as well. Meaning you’re now stuck with all these other qualities you unconsciously ignored because you were so fixated on the one quality they had that made you feel better.
Don’t get involved with someone because they make you feel better about your insecurities.